Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program grants to help provide educational and medical services in rural areas. The DLT program helps fund distance learning and telemedicine services in rural areas to increase access to education, training, and health care resources that are otherwise limited or unavailable. USDA plans to make $44.5 million available in fiscal year 2021. Of this amount, $10.2 million is intended for projects that provide substance use disorder treatment services in rural areas.
The Department of Agriculture announced Edyael Casaperalta was named Senior Policy Advisor for the Rural Utilities Services agency. Casaperalta is an attorney who has supported indigenous and underrepresented communities in telecommunications matters. Most recently, she served as ACI Project Manager for AMERIND, the only 100-percent Tribally owned insurance provider in the United States, where she supported the company’s efforts to bring high-speed broadband to Tribal Nations, businesses, and communities.
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), issued a final rule to establish the Rural eConnectivity Program. The Rural eConnectivity Program provides loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas. This rule describes the eligibility requirements, the application process, the criteria that will be used by RUS to assess applicants’ creditworthiness and outlines the application process.
USDA Invests $42 Million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine Infrastructure to Improve Education and Health Outcomes
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $42.3 million to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities. Rural areas are seeing higher infection and death rates related to COVID-19 due to several factors, including a much higher percentage of underlying conditions, difficulty accessing medical care, and lack of health insurance.
The Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions including:
The US Department of Agriculture announced Justin Maxson, CEO of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, has been named Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development. Maxson served as the CEO of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, an organization that works toward poverty alleviation and economic justice in southern states. Before that, he spent 13 years as the president of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $16 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Illinois, Oregon and South Carolina.:
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $4.6 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Georgia. Pembroke Telephone Company Inc. will use a $4.6 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 3,554 people, 73 farms, and 19 businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Evans and Tattnall counties in Georgia.
The United States Department of Agriculture is investing approximately $12 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Louisiana. Star Telephone Company Inc. will use a $6.1 million ReConnect grant, and a $6.1 million Reconnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-premises network. This high-speed broadband network will connect 3,857 people, 69 businesses, 149 farms, five educational facilities and two essential community facilities in Rapides, Concordia, Pointe Coupee, Avoyelles and Evangeline parishes in Louisiana.